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 CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38)

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Alan Pilot
Victor
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Victor
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Victor


Call Sign : 26-CT-3228 / M7VIC
Posts : 5812
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Join date : 2019-11-10
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Equipment Used : Various

CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Empty
PostSubject: CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38)   CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Icon_minitimeFri Sep 29, 2023 9:01 am

Hi all,

Hope you're all keeping well and enjoying your radio. CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) 1f44d 


I've had a hankering for utilising Morse for quite some time now and despite doing my best at learning code I've had a few stumbles often giving up for a while. I did make a touch-sensitive key a while back to hopefully instill some enthusiasm into it all (https://charlietangodxgroup.forumotion.com/t5339-i-fancied-a-touch-of-morse) but unfortunately I found that using the Iambic keyer on my rigs I landed up sending faster than I could receive! Rolling Eyes 

The common advice I heard from others regards this was to use a straight key as apparently it would improve my sending rhythm. Problem was that most 'straight-keys' seem to be prized and collectible items often fetching prices a bit out of my reach. Attempts were made at knocking up a basic straight key myself (embarrassing bodges so not shown here Wink ) but I found that my electronic Iambic experiences so far had completely ruined any chance of sending decent Morse. 'Dits' or dots are made on one paddle and 'dahs' or dashes on the other paddle....you have to time it right but it makes no difference if you 'tap' the dah or dash paddle the length of 'contact' being made for you by the keyer. How are you supposed to learn to hold your dah's with such contraptions?!?
 
I knew I needed a 'proper' key and scoured the usual places for weeks then months but a small budget often left me bereft.

Until recently.....

I came across a key on ebay (listed in the wrong place so might stand a chance!) and placed a starting bid of £10 on it. Several days later the auction ended and blow me I was the only one with a bid. It was mine!!!

It was posted quickly, turned out to be really well packaged and I was delighted to unwrap it to check it out :-

CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Morse_10


Not too bad considering the price. The wood base was dryer than a Pharaohs sandal, spots of corrosion everywhere, the shortening bar flapped all over the place and the grease in the ball bearings looked like something you'd dig out of your ears after a nasty infection. The keying bar wobbled all over the place too without much chance of actually being able to send code on it. It must have spent it's time languishing as a 'dust-collector' ornament rather than used for its intended purpose.

Ball bearings you might ask? Yes, although this looks a lot like a J-38 type key of WWII fame it's actually a Japanese copy that was often found sold in the likes of Radio Shack during the late 1960's, early 1970's. I'm not a key-collector so this fact didn't bother me but as I took the key apart you can clearly see its Japanese heritage :-

CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Morse_11


I continued on with stripping apart the key but I already knew that this wasn't going to be a total restoration job rather more of a sympathetic clean up to get it all working. That way it would still keep its historical appearance.....it may not be that collectible but it's still some 50+ years old so like a lot of us quite the antique. Wink


Out came the typical accoutrements with some old time favourites such as 'Brasso', 'Castrol' grease, etc. as well as the finest blend of walnut & danish oils in a bees wax suspension of my own making. (Any old git worth their salt could knock up such stuff and would be just the job for that dried up bit of wood used for the base.) Getting out the 'best-est' reading glasses and cracking the knuckles on my old bear paws to relieve the arthritis I tentatively pulled it all apart. There was no chance of the ball bearings falling out with how caked the grease had become!

CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Morse_12


Careful use of some meths, white spirit, brass soft bristle brush, (plus several cups of tea to keep me going), it all cleaned up rather nicely. The bearings were a nightmare and I feared the worst if I should lose any....I can barely see let alone bend down if I should drop them on the floor! The use of a small pot and some cotton buds to stir it all around helped out there. Then it was just a case of using the old 'engineers fingers' dipping my old fat fingers into the Castrol grease and vigorously rubbing all the metal parts to give them a nice protective coat after a wipe off.

Reassembly was actually far easier than imagined and it didn't take long to adjust it all out so that the key worked to perfection.

The wood base got a good covering of my homemade oil/wax suspension, left to soak in then reapplied and wiped off before a quick hand brush buff to clean it up. Couldn't leave it there so also dug around until I found my equally ancient tin of black bison wax and gave it a good brush coating as well as a hard buff by hand. After that I screwed the key back to the base (after searching around for my decent flat blade screwdriver) and was quite impressed with how it all turned out :-

CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Morse_13


None too shabby eh? CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) 1f44d 

With the use of all the old time products it has that awesome mixture of smells that only comes about with such techniques and akin to an old valve radio in a wooden case. Smells equally antique as it looks and glad I didn't go for a full restoration.

Works beautifully too! Plus shows up how bad my Morse keying skills actually are. Very Happy


I will be wrapped up for a while so won't get to use it in earnest but hopefully have a play during my recuperation. Looking forward to it.

Anyway, enough of my nonsense, just glad to be able to post up something after being a bit amiss recently.


All the best,
Victor

Les-1, Alan Pilot, Nightprowler, SangueG, Ace, Al21, DerekF and peewee norfolk like this post

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Alan Pilot
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Alan Pilot


Call Sign : 163-CT-220...MW7TTA
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Age : 15

CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Empty
PostSubject: Re: CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38)   CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Icon_minitimeFri Sep 29, 2023 11:07 am

Nice one Victor.
Got me thinking but do they do Morse for dyslexics lol.
I would need one with spell checking built in.

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Al21
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Al21


Call Sign : 26CT4617, 26TD133 & M7FPX
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Join date : 2022-09-01
QTH or Location : Malton, North Yorkshire
Equipment Used : PMR 446 handset, President McKinley, FT-8900

CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Empty
PostSubject: Re: CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38)   CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Icon_minitimeFri Sep 29, 2023 2:55 pm

Well done on the find, purchase and sympathetic restoration!

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Ace
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Call Sign : 26-CT-4203 - G0ACE
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CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Empty
PostSubject: Re: CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38)   CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Icon_minitimeFri Sep 29, 2023 3:40 pm

Well done Victor! Your restoration is in keeping with the key's age and it looks like a nice example of an item that has had a life. In my job I see far too many things that have been over restored.

Plus, there's the satisfaction of using a key which has benefited from your own handiwork. I hope you have many great QSOs with it.

73

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ROMEROTECH
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Call Sign : 26-CT-4955
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CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Empty
PostSubject: Re: CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38)   CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Icon_minitimeFri Sep 29, 2023 4:56 pm

How cool is that!. Certainly looks the part and will look great as a historic collectable adorning any radioshack. Labour of love. 👍

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peewee norfolk
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Call Sign : 26-CT-4879 / M7PCA
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Equipment Used : FT1000MP !!!!!!binatone 5*,alinco dx10 135,sirio4000,silver rod,G5RV,beofeng 17 pro max, X30 duel 2m/70cm,full size G5RV, TS120v,soon new toy
Age : 56

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PostSubject: Re: CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38)   CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Icon_minitimeFri Sep 29, 2023 8:38 pm

good job Victor, as normal, glad your getting up to messing around again !!!!!!
and yes Alan a dyslexic keyer or paddle id buy one ......

.... . .-.. .--. -.-.--

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PostSubject: Re: CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38)   CW Morse Key (Restoration of a JJ-38) Icon_minitime

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